The highest decision making body of the UPU is its congress. The last congress was held in Istanbul, in Turkey in 2016. This congress decided upon a moderate increase of the Terminal Dues between 2018 and 2021. Terminal Dues are the remuneration applied between USO Providers for the handling and delivery of inward cross-border mail. The new remuneration system is a better reflection of the needs of customers, in particular for e-commerce related transactions. Facilitation of e-commerce volumes is one of the UPU’s main priorities. This supports PostNL in his strategy for 2020.
In line with European postal regulation, PostNL supports a separation of regulatory and operational responsibilities within the UPU. A Congress proposal, aimed at integrating the regulatory role of the UPU’s Council of Administration and the operational role of the Postal Operations, Council was successfully rejected thanks to fruitful cooperation between European Postal Operators and Regulators. European operators and governments remain committed to reforming UPU in order to make the organisation more effective and efficient.
PostNL constantly adapts its service offering to meet the rapidly evolving needs of e-commerce customers, both senders and receivers. Inspired by the European Commission’s strategy to facilitate the development of the Digital Single Market, European postal operators, together with counterparties in North America and Asia, have embarked upon a comprehensive product development program, called Interconnect.
E-commerce customers demand reliable transmission times, flexible delivery and returns options, easily accessible Track & Trace facilities, and responsive customer service facilities. Customs processes and security levels are facilitated by advanced data-exchange in standardised formats. The Interconnect program enables PostNL to offer its customers a suitable range of cross-border products.
EU postal and parcel regulation
As foreseen in the Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission launched a proposal to regulate cross-border parcel deliveries in May 2016. The proposal specifically targets the parcel list prices of the USO Providers and includes an obligation to provide network access to third parties under supervision of the national regulator. The postal operators organized in PostEurop, the association of European public postal operators, have firmly expressed their concerns regarding this interference in an open, competitive and strongly growing market. The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers are expected to decide on an amended text in the course of 2017.
The Dutch government has proposed not to intervene with cross-border parcel regulation, but to first assess the self-regulatory measures taken by the industry. Further actions of self-regulatory initiatives or government action on an EU level, should be based on a thorough assessment of the present situation. The Dutch government is not convinced that there is a lack of information with regard to the market for cross-border parcel delivery, when compared to other markets that are unregulated.
The EU Council Working Party for Post informed the Commission that a considerable number of Member States expect a more flexible interpretation of the USO based on changed consumer needs. Without this flexibility the (financial) sustainability of USO will be at risk in some Member States. A revision proposal for the EU Postal Directive (last amended in 2008) is foreseen for 2020.
Postal regulation in other EU Member States
In contrast to the Netherlands, certain other EU Member States have defined the scope of the Universal Service Obligation more extensively. As USO can in principle be exempt from VAT, the VAT advantages connected to the USO are considerably larger in most of those countries than they are in the Netherlands. Given these differences in national regulations, the competitive environment for our Nexive and Postcon operations in Italy and Germany respectively are different from those in the Netherlands.